According to a recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHSTA”) Seatbelt use in the United States stood at 83% in 2008. This is an increase of 1% over 2007. Seat belt use rose steadily throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s; however, in the last 5 years it has remained fairly constant at slightly over 80%.
Seatbelt use in Texas should be slightly higher because Texas is one of 27 States that allow the police to stop drivers for not wearing their seatbelts. However, occupants in pick-up trucks are the least likely to use seatbelts which, because of the large number of pick-up trucks in Texas, may negate the positive effect of the seatbelt law.
The study also explained that lap/shoulder belts reduce the risk of death of front seat occupants in an auto accident by 45% and the risk of moderate to critical injury by 50%. In 2006 it was estimated that seatbelts saved over 15,000 lives.